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Saturday, April 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Wasden: ‘There is a legitimate legal question’

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden discusses the multi-state legal challenge of national health care reform that Idaho joined on Tuesday morning. (Betsy Russell)
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden discusses the multi-state legal challenge of national health care reform that Idaho joined on Tuesday morning. (Betsy Russell)

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says he'd have joined the lawsuit by 13 state attorneys general challenging the constitutionality of federal health care reform legislation even if lawmakers hadn't passed HB 391a, which required him to go to court to challenge the law. "There is a legitimate legal question which needs to be answered with regard to the health care bill," Wasden said. That question: Whether it's constitutional for Congress to require state residents to purchase health insurance. Wasden said the question involves issues of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

He said Florida was "as good a place as any" for the suit to be filed; the attorneys general didn't want to be in the 9th Circuit, he said, and wanted to be in the circuit nearest to Washington, D.C. Florida fits the bill. "The reason we have a group of states together is because we're able to share the costs of the litigation," Wasden said, which haven't yet been determined. "It's not going to be inexpensive, I can tell you that," he said. Idaho's Constitutional Defense Fund, which now contains about $240,000 and is controlled by the governor, the House speaker, the Senate president pro-tem and the attorney general, is a likely funding source to tap.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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